30 January 2014

girl behind the blog: blogcation edition

I was sick the past few days or else this video would have been up sooner.  I wanted to do it last night but caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and did the world a favour and didn't take any selfies or vidoes. You are welcome.

Anyway, every month (or so) Ashley hosts this great linkup where bloggers share a little bit about themselves in a way that is less typical for bloggers - via video.

It's been awhile since she's hosted one, and even longer since I've participated, but I'm pumped to be here now. She's hosting with Ali this month, and the topic is vacations!


{a walk through} psalm 91

shelter of the most high

28 January 2014


You know when you’re sitting in a moment, and you wish you had a camera, to capture it all?

That was Sunday evening.

I was at a friend’s place for dinner. Dinner was done, her husband was giving their older son a bath, my roommate Alex was at my side, and my dear friend Abbey was sitting with her baby son in her lap.

It was precious and beautiful and I just wish I could have captured her. She was the essence of beauty.

She had already let me talk for a long time. Alex had already heard all I was sharing, yet both sat patiently as I talked for ages.

Eventually I was done, and she began to speak.

She spoke for a long time and I could have sat there forever simply listening to her speak.

She shared her thoughts, her wisdom, her story, her perspective. She was honest and bold, strong and kind. 

She epitomized to me what a woman of God sounds like.

If I had had a camera, I would have taken pictures. 

Pictures to capture her beauty, her long dress, her baby in her arms, her love for him displayed in her kind grasp. I would have captured the stillness of the room all around her, in a home that had been fluttering with dinosaur screams (toddlers are noisy) and cake a mere hour prior.

24 January 2014

the photo I love

I messaged one of my dearest friends Christy and said, "we need an adventure before you go"

She’s about to leave for a few months to intern with a non-profit in San Fransico. 

She’s also one of my longest running friends. We met in high school while working at a summer camp and have kept touch throughout the years and now are close friends. 

When I moved to Vancouver 4 years ago, she was one of the three people I knew. Since then we’ve become dear friends. I stood beside her in her wedding, and she’s the friend I want to be pregnant with, travel with our spouses, friends forever type of friend. And since we’re 10 years into this friendship, the chances are high we’ll remain friends. Right Christy??

Anyway, adventure. 

She was up for it as she always is, so we drove out of Vancouver to a nearby town, walked through an outdoor mall (not every adventurous but certainly fun), and then went over to Ambleside. I parked the car and we wandered over to the water. 

We laughed and chatted and I snapped pictures of the ground and the water, the bridge and the barges, pictures of her, pictures of us.

Then she made me give her my phone to take pictures of me.I got super awkward. It was okay when she asked me to look out at the water because that just felt normal, but then she told me to turn around and look at her. 

As I did, I was laughing because I felt so stinking awkward. I saw people walking along the path and I worried about their reactions to me. My pride and fear held hands and asked me to join them.


She told me the pictures were great. I figured she was pulling a bestie move and just being kind.  

Side note: have I even read my blog last week, didn’t I just learn to agree with people when they say nice things - lots to learn still I think.

I grabbed my phone and scrolled through the ones she had just taken. And you know what? The pictures were beautiful. I was laughing and I was happy and it was so nice. 

And that last one above, it's my new favourite picture of myself.


22 January 2014

the way that I process

Monday was a long day. 

It wasn’t a bad day in any way, but it was long. I had such a good weekend in the sense that it appealed to my extrovert self. I saw a lot of people and had a good amount of good conversations. Read: very little rest this past weekend

Sunday ended late in a truly enjoyable fashion and since I’d been up since 530, Monday’s alarm felt oh so early.

I worked all day, hung out with a friend, went to a ministry thing at church, and finally made it home just in time to go to bed. I started chatting with my roommate. She was having a hard day so we talked about the things going on in her heart, and we talked about the things going on in my heart.

We sat holding hands at the kitchen table and prayed over one another, asking Jesus to intervene in the various areas we desperately needed Him to work in. 

We kept chatting as we each slowly got ready for bed. She asked if she could read my Jesus Calling devotional from the day. She read it aloud to me as I brushed my teeth. It was a sweet moment listening to truth to end the day.

Then she read another day because we both just needed to hear a little bit more from Jesus.

The words were poignant and true and necessary. Words to remember that God is with us, that He is for us, that we aren’t in control. My gosh Lord, it’s like You know all of our needs and satisfy them with Yourself.

Our conversation kept going as we talked about the darn emotions that capture us so much of the time.

I had this moment though, amidst our conversation where I just felt like God reminded me of truth.

I looked at Alex and said something akin to:

I have to trust that the way God made me, this way that I love people so quickly, and thus get hurt so often, that He made me this way on purpose. He made me this girl who feels deeply and who is affected by the things around her. He put my emotional soul together exactly the way it is meant to be. 

I don’t get to sin in that truth but there is freedom there. Freedom to receive His grace as I accept the person He made me to be. 

The Lord loves the way that I process. It isn’t foreign to Him. It isn’t complicated. He made the way that I process.

He is not surprised that my instinct is to fall before I look. He is not surprised that I feel before I grab. These aren’t complications that He is frustrated with.
When I sin in these things, like when I make decisions without prayer, or when I am unwilling to trust His timing, I have to repent. These natural tendencies aren’t allowances. Grace however is allowed. Grace is overflowing because God made me this way.

I’ll take that type of grace. I know no other kind.

made on purpose

21 January 2014

popular on pinterest

If ever I pop on to Pinterest and see any fancy red number on the side, I get excited. Pinterest isn’t somewhere I invest a significant amount of time, and other than looking up new pictures of the same haircut, I'm not there often.
I thought it would be fun today to share 5 of my most pinned images. I’m not sure if it’s the images themselves that are the most pinable parts or if it’s the words I shared, but regardless, here they are!

One last funny preface. I find it genuinely funny that two of these posts are on singleness. Oh Lord, please let me NOT be an authority voice on singleness. I say that jokingly, but I’m also serious. I’d really like to be an authoritative voice on being in a relationship. PLEASE LORD.

I digress.

5 of the TOP pinned posts from my blog:

best of pinterest

This first one doesn’t have any of my own words added so I blame its popularity solely on the words I quoted. It’s a tough quote to digest, and it’s sparked quite a few conversations.

best of pinterest
In this post I shared about the ways I work to honour my future husband. Through prayer, intention, modesty, and simply forgetting about him. This post is probably the most read post on my blog in general.

best of pinterest

I remember the night this next post describes. I remember feeling so intimate with the Lord. Intimacy is something that in my mind is a marriage thing. It’s something I look forward to in marriage. Experiencing intimacy with the Lord was such a beautiful experience. He was so close to me as I wept over feeling so very alone. His faithfulness is beautiful.

best of pinterest
Psalm 8 was one of the first Psalms (no duh) that I shared in the Psalm series. This image is one of my personal favourites so I’m so glad it’s been appreciated elsewhere.

best of pinterest

Oh man. I miss this wall. I miss so many things of my old apartment. My new space is coming along and once all the walls are covered I’ll share a walk through. But this wall from my old apartment was so fun to create, and writing a little bit of a DIY post was fun too!

So that's that! The top 5 pinned posts from my blog!

17 January 2014

a familiar picture

I wasn’t sure if I was going to share this, but I've had a few friends let me know that what I shared on Tuesday resonated with them. I wrote (most of) this on Christmas Day.

I had a moment of "aaaaaahhh" on Christmas Eve

The festivities of the day were already done. I'd finished playing the church service, had been to my sister's place with the family, and had already spent an hour in the backseat of my parents car driving to my hometown to stay the week.

I carried my bags down to my old room. 

As I walked in, I noticed a familiar picture on the floor. It must have fallen from its place on the wall.

The photo was from when I was 16. Christmas Eve. A picture of my sister and I in matching pj's. 

I remember the hug the picture depicts. It was a sweet moment and is an engraved memory. 

The aforementioned "aaaaahh" moment came as I looked at the photo, as I stared closely at myself. 

Age 16. I was so insecure. To be realistic, I'm pretty much just as insecure now except maybe I hide it better now. 

I was insecure. I felt as though I had no friends and high school was what high school is: tough. 

But dang. I was beautiful. 

At the time I would have disagreed. I would have felt similar to how I do now; inadequate at what the worlds calls beauty. Too big. Too much. Not pretty. 

Yet as I looked at the photo, as I saw a beauty in myself that I’d never seen before, I started to realize that maybe, JUST maybe. Maybe the girl I see nowadays is just as pretty as the girl of 16. 

A friend recently told me I looked like a very specific cat that she thinks is beautiful. Since I don't think cats are pretty, I got hurt by her words. She meant her words with sincere kindness, but my mind couldn't hear her kindness. I think this example sounds ridiculous, but it’s true.

People compliment me and I disagree. I disagree and I shake my head, and I dishonour the person sharing their words. I shared about this type of dishonour earlier this week.

This whole exchange in my mind, which lasted all of 30 seconds, made me question my own logic of determining my beauty. 

I wonder if I might not be the only female with some improper logic.

Over drinks with a couple close friends last week, we laughingly concluded that I’m the Ted Mosby of our group. Hopeless romantic, believes in love completely, tells super long stories, never seems to get it right. My friend Christa looked at me, knowingly, and said, he’s the main guy of the show. You’re the one with the show! She knew I’d focus on the bad instead of celebrating that he’s at least interesting enough to get a show. As we laughed, I decided in the moment to just take it. To not think of the bad characteristics but to be grateful for the good ones. I might not tell a short story, but I do tell good stories. I tend not to miss any details! teeheehee.

I wonder what would happen if I, and you, and all of us, if we decided to simply agree. To humble our pride if it gets in the way, and to stomp on our fear when it shows up, and simply smile at our friends when they tell us something kind. Not the smile I tend to give, the awkward I’m uncomfortable smile but the I have value smile. 

Seems like a decent idea to consider, especially since we're reflections of our Creator.

16 January 2014

{a walk through} psalm 89

Above Everything Else by Rend Collective Experiment on Grooveshark

When I read through this Psalm earlier this week, it was verse 9 that caused me to stop.

It reminded me of a line in a song by Rend Collective Experiment that consistently speaks to me whenever we sing it at church.

You speak and the waves obey, but you whisper peace to me.

God is huge. HUGE!
He can do anything.
And He chooses to calms me.
He whispers peace to me.


15 January 2014

a verse for 2014

This post seems grumpy to me. I'm hesitant to publish it because I don't like grumpiness. But I hope you can look beyond the potential grumpiness and grasp onto the hope that I have in Christ alone.

Mid (or late) January might be a bit too late to the party to add to the verse of the year, word of the year, goal of the year, all of the things for the new year club.

I’m not typically in this club.

Typically, if something is super popular, I’m awkward and avoid it. Hipster much?

Unless it’s something that I think is cool. Then I’m all over it. HIPSTER MUCH?!??

Like word to the year.
Or verse of the year.
Or phrase.
Or mantra.
Or whatever.

Those, for me, fall into the super popular and I avoid category.

So I determined, mid December, to avoid the cliche of the new year.

To avoid talking about the past year, and the new year, and to stick with just writing in general.

I’ve already failed at that a few times. I’ve talked about what I learned in 2013, specifically in December, and I’ve written oddly reflective posts. Hm . . .

I read two specific verses in Hebrews 12 mid 2013. I really liked them. A lot.

And I forgot about them.

Until I read them again and listened to a sermon on them a couple weeks ago.

The sermon really didn’t focus on these verses, but I felt like God made my ears attentive as I read over them again.

Hebrews 12:12-13 says:

     Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.

Let me give a quick recap of 2013.

2013 brought down my arms. It buckled my knees. It questioned my paths and hurt my feet. It put everything, and I mean everything, out of joint.

This might sound dramatic but the only sure thing of 2013 was the God who held me through it. Everything else felt uncertain. There are days from 2013 that I don't let myself think about because thinking about them is more difficult than my typing fingers can express. Failures of my own doing, failures put on me, hurts and sorrow.

I have no clue as to what 2014 will look like. I know where I will live for the year, I know where I work currently, and I know where I serve in ministry, but outside of that, there aren’t a lot of clues for what this year shall be. 

Will I meet an utter hottie and date him? Optimally yes! (insert winky emoticon) A girl can hope. Will I determine what it is I want to do with my life? Maybe! That'd be cool for sure.

 I do, however know this:

By the aide of Christ, and only His aide, I’m going to lift up my hands, no matter how drooped they may be.

They’re tired. They’ve been pushed around and held down but I’m raising them in praise to God.

My knees? They’re down. Physically my left knee hurts almost all of the time lately. Super fun. But I’m going to strengthen them. Physically I’m working to strengthen my knees, and spiritually I’m going to bend them more than ever before to kneel before my God and submit to His will.

My paths? I don’t know what they’ll look like, but I do trust my guide. My guide is the Holy Spirit and with Him in front of me, I cannot fail or fall.

All the lame parts? The hurt, broken, and sad parts? They don’t get to be put out of joint. They don’t get to remain hurt.

Christ will heal my heart. He will heal the physical ailments, and the spiritual ones. He’ll fix the emotional scars and He’ll gain glory while doing it.

2013 largely was not my favourite. There were good moments, and I'm thankful for the many good things, but when I think back to what sticks out from the year, it definitely wasn’t a good one.

2014. It still might suck. But I will still praise Him.

With Christ as my aide, my arms are going to be raised, my knees shall be strengthened, my paths shall straights, and all of my hurts will find healing.

a verse for 2014

What about you? Do you have a verse for the year? I've even got a word, yet another thing I tend to avoid. I'll share it soon.


14 January 2014

A hard question

I was deep into a conversation with my roommate. I had been reading aloud from her French bible to practice. Reading my favourite verses in French and then sharing why I loved them in English.

I'm so excited to have a French roommate. She is lovely and kind and it's so fun to be learning bits of French. One of my long term life goals is fluency so she's perfect to get me on my way!

I was grabbing some water from the sink when she told me I was wonderful. 

I disputed her. I shook my head, and smiled my I'm uncomfortable smirk.

I sat on the floor with my glass of water and expected the conversation to continue as it had been: French filled and lovely.

She said, "Can I ask you a hard question"?

I frowned, as I tend to do when I recognize where a conversation is heading and nodded. 

Side note, does anybody else do this? I’ve realized this after having multiple roommates who are excellent at speaking truth. My tendency is to frown, raise my voice (something I generally don’t like to do) and say I know when someone I love is speaking hard truth to me.

In her beautiful French way, she asked, “Why do you do that? Lower what I say? It is because you want me to dispute you or do you not believe me?"

I thought about it, unsure, slowly answered and we chatted about this for a while. When I say we, I mean she said deep and hard and strong, and the good kind of painful truth to me. 

I shared that compliments are hard for me to receive. Oh really Nadine? No duh

An hour prior, I had been pondering how I want to stop disputing complements and simply take and receive them. Apparently I’d forgotten my own resolve by the time she complimented me.

Back in December, someone told me that when I dispute the things my friends say to me, I'm calling the other speaker a liar. I'm telling them that their words don't have value.

My roommate spoke about how I am a reflection of Christ. 

How the goodness in me is a reflection of Him. Why dispute that?

Sometimes I want to tie up my writings with pretty bows, bows called "I have learnt this and can move on". Yet that seems silly since I rarely move past things. I might learn something today that tomorrow will be deepened, the day after lessened, and the day after deepened again. And then soon probably lessened because I tend to take a billion days to learn a lesson.

So this has no bow. I still dispute. It's natural. It's my tendency. But I want to believe that the words people at have truth. And I don’t think something being natural means right. I believe that I need to change this natural tendency. I believe it is not healthy. I know that even if I forget more often than remember, I do have value.

value in Christ

What about you? Do you agree when somebody compliments you? Why don’t we just take them as truth? Why don’t I? Do you? How do you do it without stroking your ego? These are my genuine questions. 

08 January 2014

Aching for home

aching for a home

I wonder if Christ ever ached for home. 
I don't mean His heavenly home, though I believe He probably ached for heaven often. 
But a dwelling place to settle in. 
I don't know what the first years of His life looked like. Or even the majority. Maybe he lived in one place for a majority of that time. 
But during those years of ministry, He didn't seem to get to have a home. 
He was on the go. Traveling from town to town, resting with strangers. 
He ate with sinners which must have been exhausting. 
Christ rested on boats and prayed among the trees
I rest in a bed and pray on my floor. 
One of the things I was most excited about for this new year was my new home. It's so fun to get to turn a dwelling place into a home.

I've been working for months to reconcile "don't store up for yourself treasures on earth" with the tangible ache I felt after putting most of my things in storage back in September.
I haven't come up with a reconciliation. 
I missed my couch. My dishes. My bed. 
I was filled with joy as I opened up each box.
I'm looking forward with genuine anticipation to hanging things on walls again. 
So as I would lay awake at night missing my things and feeling a little bit empty having lived in one room for three months - I felt like Jesus maybe understood my emotions. 
He understands my aches. 
My understanding of the aches He went through is limited - but I think His understanding of my ache is real.

06 January 2014

4 things I learnt about myself this past winter

1. I value routine and structure.
Outside of the Psalm series, I haven't blogged in pretty much two weeks. I haven't missed it (it being blogging) and I have barely written.

While I haven't missed blogging itself, I have missed writing but life has just been different. Between living at my parents for a few days for Christmas and then moving houses, it's been very non-traditional.

I'm excited to be back at work today; to create new routines.
2. I am more known than I realized.
On New Years Day, I sat with two friends over lunch. We wrote out goals and resolutions (some of which I will share soon). We challenged each one, getting to the heart of our resolves, and we pushed far deeper than simple surface goals. We obviously had the simple surface ones, but we also had the believe this truth that is hard for me to believe type resolutions.
After sharing something personal, one of my friends asked me a question. 
I looked at her, and at my other friend, and said, Can I be needy right now? Can you tell me why I have value? Can you tell me the good things you see about me? I felt selfish and awful in asking, but my friend nodded. 
She went through a list, a long and beautiful list. She shared things about me that I had forgotten, she shared things that I knew but didn't value, and she affirmed the things that I wasn't quite sure people even noticed.
As we continued to make our resolutions, we got to one category where I had no ideas. My friend spoke aloud an idea. I laughed out loud and wanted to cry. She knows me well. She knew that the goal she had said is one I would never choose on my own, but that I probably should. I am known.
3. Letting people in is a good decision.
This relates back to number 2. Throughout the fall I was in a Bible study. I shared some deeply personal things, things some of my friends in the study didn't know. Having them know has been good. 
It is hard knowing that the hurts I've held onto for so long are no longer a secret. It's scary to have a friend ask a question about something nobody has ever been allowed to know before.
That being said, letting people in is good. In fact, it's really good. It's been a long time coming, this letting people in. I've slowly let a few people in over the past couple years. 
A friend asked me recently why I thought I wasn't in a relationship and I actually said my reasons. My dark and dirty reasons that I think hinder a romantic relationship. They're far too personal to share on the internet, but having a friend know my why is helpful. Now this friend and the other who sat beside me, as I shared words I'd never spoken aloud to anybody before, can speak into my heart. They can both let me know when I'm listening to a lie, and they can point me toward the God who takes me as I am. The God who loves me as I am.
4. I'm not as vulnerable as people think.
This is one that I've seen coming for a while. I realized it when I read a post by Jessi Connolly a while ago about walls of vulnerability. As I read her words, I recognized myself. I recognized that I too, am quick to share with people. I love sharing my story, sharing things that many would consider personal. I love this online space, this space to be vulnerable and honest about the things I'm learning.
Yet I also hold much tightly in. This might seem redundant after the things I have shared above, but it really is a new things for me to be sharing many of these things with friends. 
My mentor knows many of the things I hold deep in, and sometimes it scares me when she references to something I've forgotten I've told her. She'll ask a question and I'll respond with I told you about that, always surprised that I shared so deeply.
So yes, I am vulnerable. I'm a vulnerable and authentic person. That's who I've been my entire life. But I also am far more guarded than I possibly should be.

It's been helpful to learn these things about myself. Have you learnt anything new about yourself lately?